Cozen O’Connor: McDonough, John J.

John J. McDonough


New York

(212) 908-1226

(212) 509-9492

John is a nationally known trial attorney, who represents major corporations and high-net-worth individuals in their most consequential disputes. Over three decades of practice, he has taken more than 200 cases to trial, litigated before a wide variety of courts and administrative agencies nationwide, faced highly accomplished plaintiffs’ counsel, and won verdicts valued at nine and ten digits. His track record of trial victories and favorable settlements is such that the country’s most sophisticated clients request John’s participation when excellence is absolutely required. 

The global head of claims for one of the world’s largest insurers appointed John to serve on an elite task force of just seven trial attorneys who lead the company’s most critical litigation. High-net-worth individuals and celebrities hire John to resolve private commercial litigation when confidentiality and discretion are nearly as important as the ultimate resolution.

Working as a trial lawyer and dispute strategist, John has accrued deep substantive knowledge of a multitude of legal practices, including:

  • Products liability
  • Director and officer liability
  • Construction
  • Environmental law and toxic torts
  • Technology and cyber
  • Complex insurance and reinsurance
  • Sports and equestrian law  
  • Entertainment
  • Personal and brain injury
  • Defamation

His highest accolades are his verdicts, but John has also been publicly recognized by his peers as a leader in the field. He is an ALM New York Top-Rated Lawyer, a Martindale-Hubbell AV’s “Preeminent” attorney, and a fellow in the invitation-only Litigation Counsel of America.

John is the former president of the Defense Association of New York (DANY), has edited its quarterly journal for more than 20 years, and received DANY’s James S. Conway Award for Outstanding Service to the Defense Profession in 2013. He is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council, a prestigious organization of leading manufacturers and hand-selected top products liability defense counsel.

An active author and lecturer, John speaks regularly to such groups as the Defense Research Institute (DRI), New York State Bar Association Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, and American Conference Institute. He is widely published in the lay press and law journals and is a frequently cited source in Businessweek, The New York Times, and the New York Law Journal.

John serves on St. John’s Prep’s Trustee Advisory Board and as a member of St. John’s Advancement Committee. John earned a B.A. from Boston College and his J.D. from New England School of Law.



126 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 22, 2018

One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

100 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 23, 2017

Lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition based on a rigorous peer-review that has been developed and defined for more than 30 years.

Cozen O’Connor Member Honored by Defense Association of New York

March 12, 2013

John McDonough, vice chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group, will receive The James S. Conway Award for outstanding service to the defense community at DANY's Annual Awards Dinner and Meeting on April 11 in New York City.

Cozen O’Connor Member John J. McDonough Named To Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC)

February 28, 2011

Cozen O’Connor member John J. McDonough was recently admitted as a sustaining member to the Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc. (PLAC). PLAC is an association of more than 100 leading product manufacturers and over 350 of the foremost product liability defense counsel in the United States and abroad. PLAC was formed in 1983 to analyze, understand, and shape the common law of product liability. A respected and influential organization, PLAC membership is both an honor and recognition of an attorney’s expertise in product liability law.

Cozen O’Connor Attorney John J. McDonough Elected to Board of Directors of DRI

September 29, 2009

Cozen O’Connor member John J. McDonough has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Defense Research Institute (DRI). DRI is an international organization of attorneys defending businesses and individuals in civil litigation. DRI provides educational resources and opportunities for defense trial lawyers, corporations, and state and local defense organizations. McDonough previously served on the board from 1997-2001.

Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Speak On Food & Product Recall Strategies For Mealey’s

April 30, 2008

Four Cozen O’Connor members recently participated in the Mealey’s Food and Product Recall Business Strategies Conference, held in Las Vegas. John J. McDonough served as co-chair of the conference, and delivered the opening address. Richard Fama spoke on managing a recall and handling consumer claims in his presentation, entitled ''Product Recalls and Class Action Litigation from A-Z,'' and Joseph F. Bermudez lectured on ''Insurance Coverage Issues – A Comprehensive Overview.'' Vincent Pozzuto delivered a lecture on ''The FTC and ‘Made in the USA’ Claims,'' covering the history of regulation and the current qualified claims standard.

Cozen O’Connor Attorney John J. McDonough Speaks On Pet Food Recall For American Conference Institute

March 01, 2008

Cozen O’Connor member John J. McDonough recently participated in the American Conference Institute’s (ACI) ''Managing the Risks of Manufacturing in China'' conference in Las Vegas, Nev. McDonough’s presentation, entitled ''Case Study: Lessons Learned from the Pet Food Recall,'' addressed the recent pet food recall, which was the first major recall stemming from Chinese products. He used the pet food companies that are currently facing recall-related litigation as templates for discussing the types of contracts these companies had in place with their Chinese manufacturers, the business and share losses suffered, the changes the companies have since made to their quality assurance processes, and the lawsuits, regulatory sanctions and penalties these companies are now facing.

Cozen O’Connor Forms New Practice Group to Address Credit Market Crisis

January 16, 2008

Cozen O’Connor Forms New Practice Group to Address Credit Market Crisis


The Vanishing Jury Trial Part III [Defendant]

January 01, 2017

John McDonough, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, writes his third installment to 'The Vanishing Jury Trial' in Defendant.

The Vanishing Jury Trial Part II [Defendant]

April 01, 2016

John McDonough, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, discusses the second part of his 'Vanishing Jury Trial' series in Defendant.

The Vanishing Jury Trial [Defendant]

January 01, 2016

John McDonough, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, discusses the vanishing jury trial in Defendant.

Liability for Marketing Claims in California [Cozen O’Connor Whitepaper]

November 25, 2013

Does a company expose itself to liability in California when it boasts that its products are the “safest in the business?” The answer will depend on whether courts will consider that statement to be a misleading claim or mere advertising puffery.

A Supplemental Whitepaper Addressing Sandy's Impact on Commercial and Residential Property Owners and Construction Companies [Cozen O'Connor Whitepaper]

January 23, 2013

This whitepaper provides an overview of construction related issues potentially raised by storm damage, including delay claims, areas of responsibility of municipalities and design professionals, environmental concerns and other topical matters.

New Legislation GOL § 5-335 Safeguards Settling Parties from Benefit Provider Liens [General Litigation Alert!]

January 15, 2010

New Legislation GOL § 5-335 Safeguards Settling Parties from Benefit Provider Liens - General Litigation Alert! - Thanks to new legislation, General Obligations Law § 5-335, there is a conclusive presumption that personal injury and wrongful death settlements do NOT include compensation for loss or expense paid by benefit providers, except those with a statutory right of reimbursement (i.e. Auto Personal Injury Protection/No Fault, Worker’s Compensation, Medicare, Medicaid, ERISA, etc.)

It’s A New Type of Jungle Out There: An Overview of Bovine [Cozen O'Connor Whitepaper]

April 10, 2006

It’s A New Type of Jungle Out There: An Overview of Bovine - Cozen O'Connor Whitepaper - In 1906, Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, exposed the poor sanitation practices of the meatpacking industry and spurred revolutionary statutory protection for American meat consumers and industry workers. Today, exactly a century later, with Americans and others ingesting meat, which might be more properly labeled a biohazard,1 the ultimate conclusion of Sinclair’s novel takes on a new meaning. In short, it’s a new type of jungle out there.

The Science of Mold

September 01, 2003

Preindemnification Redux

April 01, 1993


January 01, 1991

Real Estate Lender Liability

October 01, 1989

Breach of Warranty

July 01, 1989

The Non-Cooperative Insured

October 01, 1988

A Difference of Opinion

July 01, 1988

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

March 01, 1988

New York’s Dram Shop Act

February 01, 1987

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Critical Issues in Litigation – 2016

November 03, 2016 - New York, NY

Harco Verdict Impact on Construction Industry

July 27, 2016 - New York, NY

2015 PRMA Summit

November 02, 2015 - Atlanta, GA

CLM 2015 Claims College

September 09, 2015 - Philadelphia, PA

Critical Issues in Litigation – 2015

May 20, 2015 - New York, NY

PLAC Fall 2013 Conference

October 02, 2013 - Las Vegas, NV

2013 CLM Claims College

September 09, 2013 - Philadelphia, PA

Cozen O'Connor's 2013 New York Litigation Seminar

February 12, 2013 - New York, NY

Maryland Defense Counsel, Inc: Trial Academy

May 11, 2011 - Linthicum, MD

Crittenden Medical Insurance Conference

April 10, 2011 - Naples, FL

Council on Litigation Management Conference

March 23, 2011 - New Orleans, LA

Managing The Risks Of Manufacturing In China

February 28, 2008 - Las Vegas, NV


  • New England School of Law, J.D., 1979
  • Boston College, B.A., 1976

Awards & Honors

  • 2013 ALM New York Top Rated Lawyer
  • DANY James S. Conway Award for Outstanding Service to the Defense Profession
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating
  • Fellow in the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
  • 2015-2018 Irish Legal 100 
  • Best Lawyers in America 2018-2020
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court -- Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Defense Research Institute
  • The Defense Association of New York
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • HeartShare St. Vincent's Services
  • New York City Bar Association
  • Products Liability Advisory Council
  • The Charitable Irish Society
  • Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate